Distinguished Lecture

Twice annually, the Institute for Information Security & Privacy presents the Distinguished Lecture – an invited talk by a preeminent researcher or public figure who has demonstrated transformational progress of the cybersecurity field.

Previous Guests


Capital One Fall '16 Distinguished Lecture

Held Sept. 26, 2016

Butler Lampson, technical fellow, Microsoft Corporation
and adjunct professor of computer science and electrical engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


About  Butler Lampson is a renowned computer scientist and the 1992 Turing Award winner for pioneering contributions that laid much of the foundation for today’s local area networks, client-server systems, laser printers, and WYSIWYG editors, such as Microsoft Word. He is a Technical Fellow at Microsoft Corporation and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at MIT, actively working on security, privacy, and fault-tolerance, and kibitzing in systems, networking, and other areas.

Lampson was part of the faculty at University of California Berkeley, at the Computer Science Laboratory at Xerox PARC, and subsequently at Digital’s Systems Research Center before joining Microsoft. He has worked on computer architecture, local area networks, raster printers, page description languages, operating systems, remote procedure call, programming languages and their semantics, programming in the large, fault-tolerant computing, transaction processing, computer security, editors, and tablet computers.  He was one of the designers of the SDS 940 time-sharing system, the Alto personal distributed computing system, the Xerox 9700 laser printer, two-phase commit protocols, the Autonet LAN, the SDSI/SPKI system for network security, the Microsoft Tablet PC software, the Microsoft Palladium high-assurance stack, and several programming languages.

Capital One Spring '16 Distinguished Lecture

Held April 13, 2016

Latanya Arvette Sweeney, director of the Data Privacy Lab, Harvard University
Watch the Video Recap



About  As Professor of Government and Technology in Residence at Harvard University, Latanya Arvette Sweeney's mission is create and use technology to assess and solve societal, political and governance problems, and to teach others how to do the same. One focus area is the scientific study of technology's impact on humankind, and she is the editor-in-chief of Technology Science. Another focus area is data privacy, and she is the Director of the Data Privacy Lab at Harvard. She is widely credited with the observation that "87% of the U.S. population is uniquely identified by date of birth, gender, postal code" and has published work about the theory of k-anonymity. Sweeney formerly served as the chief technology officer at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). During her time there, she launched the summer research fellows program and blogged on Tech@FTC to facilitate explorations and ignite brainstorming on FTC-related topics. Dr. Sweeney spoke about how human interaction is changing based on the norms and policies we allow around privacy, anonymity and our use of technology.


Capital One Fall '15 Distinguished Lecture

Held Oct. 27, 2015

Ron Rivest, cryptographer and professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Watch the Video Recap



About  |  Democracy requires that elections have credible results -- otherwise the winner lacks a political mandate and the supporters of losing candidates react with anything from protests to revolution. Yet U.S. elections have become larger and increasingly complex, and politics seem more polarized.  Software-based voting systems inspire little trust.  Voting systems purchased with funds allocated after the 2000 U.S. presidential election fiasco are rapidly becoming obsolete.

How can good definitions, statistics, and cryptography help?

Rivest presented the notion of software independence, describing several methods for effective auditing of paper ballots, and giving an overview of "end-to-end" cryptographic voting systems that allow voters to confirm that their votes were counted exactly as intended, without violating voter privacy or enabling vote-selling. He closed with a pessimistic assessment of the prospects for "voting over the Internet."